I read two trashy novels and the second half of one very good one. The trashy ones were both by Mercedes Lackey, The Fire Rose and The Gates of Sleep. Lackey's a great storyteller in her way--and the first of these two was much better than the second--but I am really ashamed of myself for reading books like this! The real thing I wish is that the handful of writers who write really, really great novels of this kind--oh, call them fairy-tale adaptations, with a bit of a love story but not too much, like my favorite Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones--would write lots more so that I wouldn't fall back on the ones that aren't as good. Robin McKinley is the best of all--I fantasize about an alternate-universe Amazon.com where there would be, oh, say, 12 entirely different novels of McKinley's that I could order for shipping to my world.
Also finished Maria Edgeworth's Belinda, a particular favorite of mine. I'm teaching it tomorrow. It's a great read--interesting and strange and both like and quite unlike Austen. Also it includes a fictionalized version of the strange episode mentioned in the second paragraph here, in which Edgeworth's father's friend Thomas Day educated two orphan girls along the lines Rousseau had laid out in Emile to see if one of them would make him a suitable wife. And lots of other strange and unexpected elements. Read it if you like Austen & are interested in exploring further afield in contemporary fiction.